Week ending October 19, 2012
Young, Neil. Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream. Blue Rider: Penguin Group (USA). 2012. 502p. photogs. ISBN 9780399159466. $30. MUSIC
Iconic Canadian American rocker Young’s (b. 1945) first memoir, composed during a rare break from making new music and without the aid of a ghostwriter, is a free-form series of digressions covering many personal and professional topics that span his long life and prolific career. Young splits his time between remembering and sometimes eulogizing the many musicians he has worked with and friends he has partied with through the years, telling stories from his sprawling musical career in nonchronological spurts, and explaining at length his two current design projects—large low-energy-consumption cars and high-audio-quality digital music players. Young also finds room to discuss his Canadian upbringing, his three beloved children and wife, Pegi, and his collections of vintage cars and model trains. Young’s writing is simple, unfiltered, sometimes hilarious, and often filled with nostalgia and gratitude. He is quite candid about his many successes and failures as a musician, as a husband, and as a parent. Young offers revealing insights into his time in Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young and as a solo artist.
Verdict Essential reading for all fans of Young, who, in his typical idiosyncratic, improvisational, and charmingly long-winded style, fills in the gaps of Jimmy McDonough’s flawed Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography.—Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
Ziegler, Mel & Patricia Ziegler. Wild Company: The Untold Story of Banana Republic. S. & S. Oct. 2012. 208p. illus. ISBN 9781451683486. $25. BUS
Here the Zieglers (The Republic of Tea: The Story of the Creation of a Business, as Told Through the Personal Letters of Its Founders) offer a charming account of how they took their last $1500 and started Banana Republic, a retail and catalog business that repurposed military surplus into fashionable clothing for men and women. Told in a dual-voiced narrative with illustrations from the original catalogs, the book allows both authors to give first-person accounts of their odyssey of starting a dual retail and catalog business, creating a fashion line, and opening several stores in California before becoming part of Gap Inc., one of the most successful clothing retailers of the last 20 years. Along the lines of Gary Hirshberg’s Stirring It Up and Fred Lager’s Ben & Jerry’s: The Inside Scoop, this business memoir sheds light on how two passionate and imaginative people were able to create a successful company while maintaining personal integrity. This inspiring history offers a good reminder that the invention and dedication apparent in current tech start-ups is nothing new.
Verdict This book will appeal to socially conscious and fashion-forward readers who love to read about businesses that think outside the box to make their dreams a reality. Highly recommended.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll. Lib., Boston